Friday, March 12, 2010

1 Thessalonians 1

1 Thessalonians 1 - Passage Lookup - New American Standard Bible -

I find it interesting that this entire epistle, save for the final two verses, is written in the third person. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy are speaking together, as one, to the assembly in Thessalonica showing solidarity (unity) in leadership. This is important as is serves as a model for the Church. We are to be one. But more importantly, our leadership should be on the same page. That is not to say that the leaders need to be clones of one another, but the leadership should be close enough to one another that they know how each other thinks and feels concerning a situation, and they can work together as one.

This unity could also prove to be important given the history of the founding of the Church at Thessalonica. This was a Church that underwent grave persecution by Jewish leaders. Judaism is an ancient religion with a strong foundation (both numerically and spiritually). Paul, Silvanus and Timothy working together could have provided a strong support system for the believers, letting them know that there is a global body of believers fighting the good fight with them. In fact, this truth remains even today. Christianity is a strong religious system with many believers in many countries. This provides security of doctrine and great support for one another.

After a typical Pauline greeting complete with Grace & Peace, Faith, Hope & Love, the writers dive into assurance in verse 4. Knowing: it is a great fact that the believer can rest assured in the promises of God. He can know them.

The first thing we can know that we are loved of God. He sent the ultimate sacrifice when He sent His Son to die for us. We are greatly loved by God. We can know this, we can rest in it.

The second thing we can know if that God has chosen us. Now, without getting into the Theological implications of predestination, we know that there are a few reasons why God would choose us. He would choose us because He finds pleasure in us. He would choose us because He desires to bless us. He would choose us because He desires fellowship. In other words, God places a certain value on mankind and this value compels Him to choose man. We are not given enough details to know if He has only chosen a few men or all men and how that reflects on His character.

How do we know these things? How can we rest assured in these promises? We know because God came with sufficient power to save us: verse 5. He came with full conviction -- He really wanted to show our need. If He came only with partial or fleeting conviction, then we may not really think we need Him.

We also know these promises are true because they are lived out in good examples. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy acted as ambassadors to the Thessalonians, and they proved how blessed a life lived for Christ could be. Not only so, but in persecution, the Thessalonians learned the Joy of the Spirit which can flow through the worst of circumstances. This, in turn, made the Thessalonian believers out to be examples to all of Greece of how a steady believer should behave (indeed their fame had spread across the region) -- all this in relatively new Christians. All this was made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It has been said that each chapter in the epistles to the Thessalonians contains an eschatological reference and it comes here in verse 10. In this reference we find the promise of final redemption, salvation from the wrath to come. This is ultimate rescue from judgement and glorification. The wrath of God will destroy all of creation. However, those who trust in Christ will be glorified like Him. Remember, Christ was raised and never saw corruption. We have that promise in store for us as well.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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